Some of this comes from the recent loss of my darling friend Flanagan, who added so much joy to my days with his Irish fire and fury and fun. Some of it comes from losing other people I love...young people..much younger than I am now. Intellectually I have always understood the fact of human mortality. I just didn't believe in it. By the time you hit my age, however, it's rather difficult not to. So no one (please believe me on this...NO ONE) leaves this house without a kiss and a hug and a prayer. OK. Maybe the Jehovah's Witnesses who interrupt my movie, but that's it. I hug shy people, priests, gay people, poor people, rich people, people who need a bath (remember, my husband is a runner!), I hug them all. It's not just that I am ridiculously friendly (although that is the rumor). The reason is that I know as sure as I know my name that any goodbye could be the final one. This sounds gloomy and depressing. It's really not. Think what the world would be like if we all remembered this every time we parted with someone we loved. Think of all the stupid arguments we could avoid and the silly minutia that we could overlook.
So the worst part of getting older for me is the loss of the illusion of invulnerability. My boys still both think they can fly and walk on water. I envy them their ignorance and it worries me, too. At the same time I am grateful for the knowledge, because it makes me pay attention almost all the time. My motto is "Life is short and so am I." It's only partially a joke. Although I love to horrify people by telling them that if I were any shorter my hair would smell like feet. But every day really is a gift. Today's gift for me was the sound of the key in the lock when a very sweaty runner came through the door. And if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go celebrate with a doughnut.